Stephenville gets $100K USDA grant to promote energy efficiency

E-T Staff

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week the investment of $464 million to build or improve renewable energy infrastructure and to help rural communities, agricultural producers and businesses lower energy costs in 48 states and Puerto Rico. 

Acting Texas State Director Daniel Torres announced that 18 of those projects totaling $1.47 million are in Texas, including one in Stephenville. 

According to a news release, Stephenville Type B Economic Development is receiving a $100,000 grant to conduct 81 bioenergy and energy efficiency site assessments for rural agricultural producers. These site assessments will provide analysis to make energy-efficiency improvements to these operations and/or install renewable energy systems.

Vilsack

“USDA continues to prioritize climate-smart infrastructure to help rural America build back better, stronger and more equitably than ever before,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the news release. “We recognize that lowering energy costs for small businesses and agricultural producers helps to expand economic development and employment opportunities for people in America’s rural towns and communities."

USDA is financing $129 million of these investments through the Rural Energy for America Program. This program provides funding to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. These climate-smart investments will conserve and generate more than 379 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) in rural America, which equates to enough electricity to power 35,677 homes per year. 

USDA is financing $335 million of these investments through the Electric Loan Program. The loans will help build or improve 1,432 miles of line to strengthen reliability in rural areas. The loans include $102 million for investments in smart grid technology, which uses digital communications to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.

Other investments in Texas include:  

• Lone Star Solar Pentex, LLC, will use a $1 million guaranteed loan for the development of a ground mount, tracking utility scale solar photovoltaic electricity production facility, located in Gainesville. The facility is projected to produce an estimated 2.69 million kilowatt-hours in electricity per year and could supply power to an estimated 252 households with an average residential utility customer use of 10,649 kilowatt-hours per year. The development of the facility will create three jobs with an average wage of $30 per hour. 

• Exotic Resort in Johnson City will use a $20,000 grant to install a 50.358-kilowatt solar array. It will produce 72,356 kilowatt hours annually, enough to power six homes, worth approximately $4,500.